Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D) at Chicago’s Pride Parade on Sunday expressed optimism at his state’s chances of allowing same sex couples to marry.
“We’re moving forward,” he told ChicagoPride. “The key is to get a majority in both houses of the Legislature to get a bill on my desk I can sign. I think we’re closer every day.”
Three Illinois legislators have introduced a bill that would grant same sex couples all the marriage rights now exclusively available to heterosexual couples. The bill, the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act, was proposed to the Illinois House in February by Reps. Greg Harris, Deborah Mell, and Kelly Cassidy. But the bill has not been acted on.
The Illinois governor had previously said he needed to study the issues concerning same sex marriage before he decided whether to support the legislation.
“The record of the civil unions bill that we signed last year is that hundreds have been performed all over the state,” Quinn said. “That sets a good foundation.”
Last year, Illinois legalized civil unions for same sex couples, granting them some of the legal rights of married couples, such as for inheritance or hospital visits. But LGBT rights advocates said civil unions — while being a positive step forward — had substantial weaknesses.
“In following experiences of thousands of couples in civil unions over the past year, we confirmed what we always suspected to be true: that creating a separate institution to provide substantially the same rights did not add up to full equality under the law,” Bernard Cherkasov, CEO of Equality Illinois, said.
Quinn also predicted President Barack Obama’s endorsement of same sex marriage would help the bill gain support.
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